GAMES AND STUNTS FOR
LARGE AND SMALL GROUPS
Recreation Secretary for the National War
Work Council of the Young Women's
COLLEGE OF LIBi^RA! ARTS
THE WOMANS PRESS
600 LEXINGTON AVENUE
NEW YORK CITY
\ji a. Vv^ e^
Copyright, April, 1918, by
National Board of the Young Women's Christian Associations
of the United States of America
This collection of games and stunts has been prepared
for the express purpose of meeting the many requests
of the day for successful recreation programs for large
and small groups of men and girls, in which round danc-
ing has no part. There is also a chapter of games espe-
cially adapted to groups of girls. The material is not
original: it is rather in the nature of a compilation
gathered during several years of experimental recreation.
Wherever possible due acknowledgment has been made,
but in most cases the source is unknown.
Thanks are especially extended to the members of the
1913 and 1917 classes of the National Training School,
and to the guests and counselors at Camp Altamont, N.
Y., in the summer of 1917, for the very real service they
have rendered in compiling suggestions here incorpo-
rated, all of which have been tested and found good.
Practically all of the material included here has also
been tested under war-time conditions. Under the di-
rection of the War Work Council of the Young Women's
Christian Associations, a recreation center has been es-
tablished in Charleston, S. C, and in this center, to
which flocked hundreds of soldiers, sailors, girl uniform-
makers, and the girls of the community, these activities
received their final try-out. This experience has proved
that material of the type included here may be used
to build up a community recreation center, as well as
in clubs, churches, Christian Associations and homes.
To draw from the myriad homes of every State in
the Union millions of young men and women, enlisting in
the service of Uncle Sam^ and to surround them with
wholesome environment, socially and otherwise, is one
of the prodigious tasks now being assumed by our nation.
We must accomplish in months, however, what the older
nations have taken decades in their efforts to achieve.
Outside and within the service the various forms of
amusement adopted are being watched with discrim-
inating interest. Wanted : the most advantageous meth-
ods of mixing the sexes in social amusements giv-
ing relaxation and rightful pleasure. Since it has been
charged that the social dance has in recent years been
too often inoculated with forms of suggestion which have
worked havoc, some of its former advocates are now
looking seriously for other methods. While the dance
still holds its place in society, they believe a change is
necessary for the new state of things now existing in
camp and cantonment.
I take pleasure in prefacing this work, compiled by
one who has attained distinction as an organizer and
entertainer in modem recreative methods. I have wit-
nessed her and her colleagues in the midst of practical
demonstrations to which came thousands of young people
from the naval and military camps in and around
Charleston. Youthful and patriotic exuberance mingled
harmoniously with some of the oldest fonns of historic
folk-lore and frolic, and from the beginning to the end
there was not a dull or stupid moment. These methods
of amusement follow psychologically the strictness of
drill discipline so necessary to daily camp life, and
emphasize the utility and beauty of rhythmic action in
play as well as in the stern realities of military aggres-
John J. Brokenshire
Training Camp, U. S. Navy Yard
Charleston, S. C.
I Games for Large Groups 7
II Games for Small Groups 24
III Musical Games 34
IV Stunts 50
V Girls ' Athletic Games 80
Games for Large Groups
To Break the Ice
The Receiving Line
In order that every member of a large group may
meet every one else present, have the ehaperones stand
at the door, all the men forming a Ime at one end of
the room and all the girls at another. First, a man
steps up to the ehaperones, introduces himself to them,
is passed down the line, then stands at end of ehaper-
ones' line as a part of the receiving line. Next, a girl
from the girls' line does the same, then a man, and
so on, each newcomer standing in position as part of
the line when he has passed down the entire line. This
continues until every one has been in the receiving
This may be made decidedly humorous by the follow-
ing addition: Each person on entering the room re-
ceives a slip of paper bearing directions to govern his
hand-shaking in the receiving line. The ''down-
easter" grasps another's hand and works it like a pump-
handle; the "Frenchman" continuously bows with his
hand on his heart; the Chinaman shakes his own hand
8 ICE BREAKERS
complacently; and the ''society belle" languidly ex-
tends two fingers, or offers her hand on a level with her
shoulder and gives one frigid shake. Others give the
old time pressure which makes the tears start with its
force as well as its fervor.
To Find Partners
In large groups the easiest method is to have all the
men line up on one side of the room and all the girls
on the other. They countermarch, leaders turning ab-
ruptly away from center of room, marching, both lead-
ers close to their own lines, to opposite end of room,
where leaders meet and come up with partners. If the
men can line up in a separate room, not seeing the girls
until they get into the main room, it adds to the excite-
ment. In this case the leaders join lines as close to the
door as possible. The latter method of finding partners
can very easily be used with small groups as well.
Another method is to distribute cards on which have
been written the names of some public or humorous
characters, with the names of their wives on correspond-
ing cards. For instance. Pa Ticklepitcher searches until
he has found Ma Ticklepitcher, and Mr. I. M. Smart can
not rest until he has found Mrs. I. M. Smart.
Another way is for the girls to stand in turn with one
foot sticking out from under a curtain, the men, of
course, to choose.
On entering the room each man may be handed a
paper and pencil, may be introduced to a lady with
whom he is to converse for five minutes, and is then to
retire and write a minute description of her appearance,
detail of gown, etc. After ten minutes the papers are
collected. These slips are then distributed promiscu-
ICE BREAKERS 9
ously among the men, who are instructed to find the
lady whose description they have. The ladies thus
found are to be the men's partners for refreshments.
A good way to pair off is to play the old-fashioned
game of silent Blind Man's Buff. The girls form a
circle, the men are blindfolded one at a time, placed in
the center with a cane, and the one the blind man touches
is his partner.
The men may be given pieces of paper which specify
that they are to jump up and down, or snore, crow, sing,
go to sleep, hee-haw, etc. Give each girl a slip, telling
her what the man is doing with whom she is to eat.
She looks for the man doing the stunt.
When a Few Entertain the Group
The following activities are particularly useful in
filling in between activities in which the entire group has
taken part, rest periods, so to speak. Any of them may
be used for small groups also.
Two men lie on the floor, one who has been *'put
wise" and the other ''unwise." Both are covered up.
The *'wise" one holds a stick concealed at his side.
Both are told that some one in the audience will strike
them with a stick, and are told to pop up immediately
when hit, and guess who hit them. If they guess right
the one who hit must lie down. Of course the ''wise"
one does the hitting, immediately concealing the stick,
sometimes hitting himself further to dupe the unwise
10 ICE BREAKERS
Four people are taken out of the room. One is ** un-
wise" and does not know the trick. They are told that
they are to sing a song of four words, the sentence to
contain the word ''sold." The ''unwise" one is as-
signed that word. The tune is practiced with all sing-
ing. When they come out to sing, the victim alone
Faith, Hope and Charity
Part of the men are sent from the room. Three girls
named Faith, Hope, Charity stand behind chairs which
conceal a man, preferably one with a beard. The men
are brought in one by one and told to choose one of
the girls. No matter which one they choose, they are
told to sit in the middle chair, are blindfolded, and the
man in the rear kisses them.
Opera Glass Race
Four or more persons race along parallel chalk lines
looking through the large end of opera glasses, and if
one foot goes off the line the contestant cannot step
ahead but must start anew from that point.
Lobster Race for Men
The participants stand on all ' ' fours ' ' and move back-
ward as quickly as possible. The one reaching a desig-
nated line first, wins.
Tug of War for Prunes
A prune is tied firmly in the middle of a long piece of
twine and each contestant takes one end of the twine
ICE BREAKERS 11
in liis mouth and begins to chew his string for the prune.
No one is allowed to use his hands.
Several girls who know the trick dress the dummies.
When four or more men are seated, blindfold each one
and reciuest him to double up his right fist. Upon the
back of the fist make the mouth, nose and eyes of a
face with burnt cork or a little water color. Tie around
this a doll's cap or a lace frill or a muslin ruffle, and
fasten around the wrist a full white apron or skirt.
Bend the left arm to lie across the vest and put the right
wrist into the inner bend of the elbow, drawing the
apron down over the right arm, and each of the blind-
folded men will appear to be tenderly holding a baby.
Have the blindfolds removed.
y Chariot Race
Each "team" is made up of two horses and a driver.
The "horses" are blindfolded, and facing in the same
direction, their inside arms are tied together. The
reins are tied to the outside arms and the driver drives
them as he would drive a team of real horses. The team
that gets to the appointed place first, wins.
Suit- Case Race
Each contestant has a suit-case and an umbrella. In
the suit-case are a hat, a coat, gloves, and any other
clothing desired so lonir as the contents are uniform.
At a given signal, all run to the goal, open suit-cases,
put on clothes, close suit-cases, open umbrellas, and run
to starting point.
12 ICE BREAKERS
Four or more apples are placed on the floor. The par-
ticipants, who are on their knees, race to devour the
apples without the aid of their hands.
"^Y, Blind Obstacle Race
Obstacles such as vases of flowers, china ware, chairs,
etc., are placed in four or more long rows. The con-
testants are requested to try distances before being
blindfolded. They are then blindfolded and are placed
at the starting point and told to race down through the
line of obstacles without touching anything. In the
meanwhile the objects have been removed.
Standing High Jump
Four doughnuts are suspended in a doorway, about
four inches above the mouths of the jumpers. The con-
testants, with hands tied, race to eat their doughnuts in
the shortest time.
Milk Bottle Race
Each contestant is given a baby's milk bottle. At a
given signal they race to see which one can first drain
his bottle of all the milk.
The participants race to shove pennies across a sheet
by pushing them with their noses.
Running High Squeal
Each contestant runs a short definite distance and
squeals. The one squealing highest, scores.
ICE BREAKERS 13
Let the judges decide who can "bawl" the best.
X Cracker Relay Race
Twelve or sixteen is a good number for this race.
Stand in rows, each one supplied with a cracker. At
the signal the first one in each row begins to eat his
cracker. As soon as he can whistle after eating his
cracker, the next one begins. The row which finishes
The same idea may be used with apples. Each leader
is given an apple. First one pares an apple ; the second
one cuts it in halves; the third one quarters it and cuts
out the core ; the fourth one eats it.
Water Drinking Relay
Sixteen is a good number for this game, eight men
and eight girls. Each man has a partner, and they
stand in two double lines. Each girl is provided with
a tumbler half full of water, and a teaspoon. At a given
signal the two girls who head the two respective lines
begin to feed their partners the water, using the tea-
spoon. As soon as either couple finishes they must sing
together the first verse and chorus of Yankee Doodle, at
the end of which the next couple begins to do away with
the water. The side which finishes first marches around
the other side singing Yankee Doodle.
( Aeroplane Ride
.Those who are to take the trip are blindfolded before
they enter the room in turn-. A strong board is held,
an inch or so from the floor, by two or more persons.
A blindfolded girl is asked to step on the board and
14 ICE BREAKERS
told to put her hands on the shoulders of a girl who
steers. The board is raised a little and then, instead of
raising it higher the one in front stoops down by de-
grees, and the girl taking the trip, feeling the shoulders
going down, imagines that the board is being raised
higher and higher until she finally feels that she must
be perilously near the ceiling. Finally the steerer tells
her to let go her shoulders. Then the ''conductors"
tell her to jump when they count three, but not to be
afraid, as she will land on a mattress. It is great sport
to see her prepare for an attempt to execute an enormous
jump and land in a heap, after falling two inches. An
egg beater, worked vigorously to imitate the sound of
the machinery and fanning the rider, adds to the ef-
Each group is made up of one aviator and two me-
chanics, and is given a string about fifty feet long and
a cornucopia eight inches long, which is threaded
lengthwise on the string. The two mechanicians hold
the ends of each string and the aviator blows the cornu-
copia from one end of the string to the other. The win-
ner receives the blue ribbon.
The Hungry Blind
Two men sit on the floor, blindfolded, their clothing
protected by many newspapers. They feed each other
ice-cream, usually making vain and disastrous attempts
to reach each other's mouths.
The Mysterious Bpg's
Five or more pnn^r bogs are tifrl to a pn1f» wh^ ^i ''
be held bv two tall men. Peanuts are in one of th
ICE BREAKERS 15
bags, (>andy in another, sawdust in another, water in a
waterproof sack, and a little pepper in another. Five
men are blindfolded. Each one in turn is given a
short stick, and is led up to the pole, told to turn
around, and then is given three tries at hitting the
bags. If he breaks the candy bag, he gets the candy, if
the water bag, the water! If all the bags are not
broken when the five men have had their turns, call out
as many more as are necessary, until all the bags are
broken. Of course no one knows anything about the
contents of the bags.
Each contestant is given two newspapers, one for
each foot. He places one forward and steps on it with
the right foot. Then he picks up the other for his left
foot and so on, being allowed to step only on newspaper.
They race to a given mark and back.
The Bone of Contention
Two men face each other, sitting on the floor. Their
feet are braced up together and must remain so. Their
knees must remain straight. Together they grasp a bar
or a broomstick handle and at a signal try slowly to
pull each other to a standing position. It usually re-
sults in one of them falling headlong over the other.
Games for the Whole Group
The players are divided into two groups. A proverb
is selected, and one word given to a player. If there
are more players than words, the same word is given
16 ICE BREAKERS
to several people. At a signal from the leader the
players of the first group sing their words in concert to
a given tune. The opposite side must guess the proverb
before they can sing theirs.
V Snakes and Birds
The group is divided evenly. Those who are snakes
are divided into threes and hold hands across the line.
At a signal, the others, who are birds, are let out of the
cage. The snakes try to encircle them, and if caught,
the birds are sent back into the cage until all the birds
^ Simon Says
The company is put on the floor in gymnastic order.
Orders are given for gymnastic movements, and unless
each command is preceded by "Simon Says," any one
who obeys the command drops out.
Two sets of the letters of the alphabet are given out
to two different groups. The leader calls out words,
easy at first, and those from each group holding the
letters making up that word must step forward into
place, facing the judges. If a letter is used twice in a
word, the holder must go first to one place and then
to the other. The judges decide which side forms the
Send one person out of the room and hide some article
on a person. When he returns have every one sing a
popular song. The nearer the searcher gets to the
ICE BREAKERS 17
article the louder the music is, and as he gets farther
away the music gets softer. The one on whom the article
is found must leave the room next.
For ^his game write out words and then cut them up
into single letters, giving the same number to each letter
of a given word. For example, in the word "battle,"
call every letter of "battle" Number One. All the
Number Ones are told to get together and discover what
their word is and act it out for the group to guess.
In a similar manner proverbs can be cut up and put
together and then acted out.
Peanuts are hid in every conceivable place. At a
signal, the group is told to search for them and keep
them for the count. The player who has the most is
given a toy pig.
Folding Chair Relay Race
About twenty of a large group are divided into four
equal lines. A folding chair is placed unopened on a
goal mark for each line. Each contestant must run to
the chair, open it, sit in it, close it and touch off the
next runner. The last one of a line who sits in her chair
Out of a large group are taken two or three small
groups in turn. While some other activity is going on
they are given five minutes in which to prepare to stage
some nursery story. For instance, the first group
might be assigned ''Red Riding Hood/' The parts are
assigned and impromptu costumes are gathered and the
play goes on. The action is all in pantomime and the
name of the play is not announced, the audience guessing
it from the acting.
The company is divided into two groups, each group
taking turns at acting out a given word in paiftomime.
If the guessing side fails to guess the word being acted
out, the other side gets another turn.
Serial charades may be given from week to week by
a club or group which meets regularly, the guessers of
one charade being given the interim between meetings
in which to prepare a charade for the other side.
Good charade words are as follows:
ICE BREAKERS 19
Some circle games prove effective when entertaining
groups of any size, but their greatest value lies in the
fact that they can be used for groups made up of as
many as one hundred and fifty people. These circle
games include Cat and Rat, Three Deep, Slap Jack,
Farmer and Thief, Farmer in the Dell, and Rabbit in
the Hollow, directions for which are found in ''Games
for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium," by
Jessie H. Bancroft. Several circles must be formed,
never more than twelve in a circle. This is easily done
by forming the group into one large circle, and having
two counters starting from the same point and going in
opposite directions, rapidly count off tens or twelves.
Other circle games are :
Hiram and Mirandy
A man is chosen for Hiram, and a girl for Mirandy.
They go inside the circle, where Hiram is blindfolded.
20 ICE BREAKERS
He calls sharply, ''Mirandy." She answers sweetly,
*'Yes, Hiram," whereupon he dashes in the direction
the voice came from, trying to catch her, she, of course,
eluding him. He calls constantly and she must answer
at once, never leaving the circle. When he catches her
she chooses a Hiram and he chooses a Mirandy.
Have two or three circles in a group competing, or if
desired make it general, and give the signal for starting
to the entire group. One person from each circle is
chosen for starter. He drops outside the circle, and
every one in the circle takes his neighbors' hands. At
a signal the starters from each circle begin racing, going
into the circle under one pair of arms, and out through
the next, in and out until they reach their own places,
where they touch off the next weaver, the one to the
right. The prize goes to the circle in which the last
runner first reaches the starter.
The following are simply suggestions for parties,
which can be elaborated to any extent.
Family Party (For 30 to 150 Players.)
Have slips for family groups of about six or eight
members previously made out. Pa and Ma Tickle-
pitcher and the baby, Europea Ticklepitcher, etc.
Pin names on each arriving guest. Members of
families get together. Each family is given a
bundle (each committee may be responsible for one
bundle) containing such articles as a pair of overalls,
false mustache, wrapper, child's dress, necktie, baby's
ICE BREAKERS 21
bottle, etc. Assign a certain place to each family and
allow fifteen minutes to dress and arrange for some
stunt or entertainment. Families begin to arrive, Ma
can make a little speech, baby can recite a little piece,
the twins can sing, etc.
Birthday Party (For 50 to 200 Players.)
The birth mouth of each person may be ascertained
upon his arrival and groups formed for each month of
the year. Each group is asked to represent its month by
costume and by stunt. The months may march in,
headed by Father Time, but not arranged in their
natural order. Father Time then calls upon each
group, by number, for its stunt, and the guests deter-
mine which month is being represented. June may be
represented by a wedding, October by Halloween
pranks and the usual grouchy old man^ etc. ; April Fool
by a child giving a wonderful cornet solo, which con-
tinues when he takes the cornet from his mouth ; August
by a camp-meeting ; September by a school scene ;
January by Father Time and a baby putting on a
touching farewell scene ; February by birthday parties ;
March by an electric fan blowing the actors out of the
scene ; May by lovers ; December by children being
painfully good; November by stomach-aches; July by
some patriotic scene.
Progressive Peanut (For 12 to 48 Players.)
The idea is the same as for any progressive game, the
winning couple moving up one table. A bowl of pea-
nuts is on each table, with four hatpins supplied. In
turn each one spears for peanuts, using a hatpin only.
The couple getting the most peanuts moves up one.
22 ICE BREAKERS
Miscellaneous Progressive Party (For 12 to 48 Players.)
The same idea as in progressive card games. Instead
of cards, various contests are arranged for each table.
Some of them may be as follows :
1. Flipping cards into a hat from a certain distance.
2. Tiddly Winks.
3. Jack Straws.
4. Fish Pond.
5. Spearing peas or peanuts.
6. Lifting beans with a lead pencil.
7. Making words out of one long word.
This list can be added to indefinitely, for any child's
game can be made one of the events.
Invitations may be written backwards by means of a
mirror. Guests are to come dressed backwards. Hair
may be combed backwards and the backward idea car-
ried to almost every detail of dress. Guests are to
come up the back steps backwards, in through the back
door, and shake hands backwards, saying goodbye in-
stead of greeting their friends. The first event of the
evening is to sing ''Good Night Ladies." Even games
may be played backwards and the entire evening pro-
gram can be made backwards. As to refreshments, after
dinner mints and coffee may be served first, reversing
absolutely the usual schedule. The salad may have the
lettuce leaf on top, and the napkin is passed at the end.
White Elephant Party
Guests bring some article that they do not want,
wrapped in white tissue paper. These are exchanged
ICE BREAKERS 23
unopened. The recipients open the packages and if
they are not satisfied, they rewrap the articles and con-
tinue exchanging until satisfied.
Taxes are levied on superfluous laughing and talking.
Evidence of most pitiful poverty is shown in clothes,
decorations, refreshments and even entertainment.
Grown-down children are invited, dressed in babies'
clothes, carrying milk bottles, rattles, etc. Baby games
are played ; baby pictures enlarged on a screen and
their owners guessed; and even baby refreshments
To Choose Winner
Sometimes there are four or five people who come out first
in a contest. To decide which one gets the prize have each one
open a book in turn. Note the first letter on the page. The
one whose firet letter is nearest the beginning of the alphabet
Relay races, as described in the Chapter on Girls' Athletic
Games, can be used for large groups.
Games for Small Groups
These are games which can be played in a small space
and prove most effective with a group of not more than
forty, where every one can either take part or see every
move of the game. All of the .games suggested in
Chapter I may also be used for parlor games.
Each one is given a feather and at a signal blows it
high in the air. The game is to see who can keep his
feather in the air for the longest time.
v^ Reading Temples
The group is told that thoughts can be transmitted
through the temples. Two have been "put wise." One
**wise" one leaves the room, the others deciding on a
number not greater than ten. The "wise" one comes
back, and feels several temples. She is told the number
by the grinding of the other "wise" one's teeth.
/ Mental Telepathy
The group is told that if enough people think hard
enough of one object, they can communicate the thought
to a person who knows nothing about it. One "un-
wise" person is asked to leave the room, and nothing is
decided upon, but the group is told that when the
ICE BREAKERS 25
*' unwise'^ person comes in, the second thing that he
names must be admitted to be the right object. This
continues until he realizes he is duped.
One person claims that he can go out of the room and
if some person in the room will write four words on a
slip, he can come in and write the same thing. Of
course what he writes is, *'The same thing."
I See a Ghost
The group forms in a single line. The first one says,
I see a ghost," crouching on her heels. The next one,
"Where ? ' ' The first one answers, ' ' Over there, ' ' point-
ing with both hands. The second one tells the third
one and so on down the line. This continues until all
in the line have both hands pointing outward and are
on their heels. The final move is for the leader to push
the entire line over.
A thimble is hidden in flour. The victim must find it
with his teeth.
Newspapers must be spread very liberally in one
spot. A darning egg is placed twice successively in the
hand of the victim, who is blindfolded and on his knees.
Each time he is told to hold it in his palm and strike it
on the floor hard to call forth his guardian spirit. The
third time he is given an ^gg instead.
The Mystic Book
A blindfolded victim is told that he is privileged to
kiss the ]\Iystic Book three times, through which privi-
26 ICE BKEAKERS
lege lie will gain the gift of beauty. He does this twice,
but the third time a saucer of flour has been placed in-
side the cover.
Smut (Announce as being an Initiation)
Three plates are brought before a blindfolded victim.
One contains water, one is empty and the other has
smut on the bottom of it. He is told to put his finger
in the first plate and perform mystic signs on his face.
Then he is told to rub his finger on the bottom of the
second, doing the same, and last on the bottom of the
one containing the smut.
The players are given pencils and paper and asked to
write down all the slang words they can think of in
five minutes. When the time limit is reached the hostess
collects the papers and reads the lists of slang expres-
sions. The players have been previously told that a
prize will be given. When the time comes for its pres-
entation the hostess gives it to the one who has the
One of the players is blindfolded and is called the
postman. Another is postmaster and the remainder of
the players seat themselves around the room. No empty
chairs must be left. The postmaster assigns each
player, including the postman, the name of a city or
town. The blindfolded postman is next placed in the
center of the room and the postmaster takes a position
where he can overlook the players. He then calls out,
*'I have sent a letter from St. Louis to New Haven,''
ICE BREAKERS 27
and the players representing these cities quickly change
places. As they run, the postman tries to capture one
of them and if he can do this or can manage to sit down
in an empty chair, the player who is caught and whose
chair he has taken becomes the postman.
The leader whispers to each one, supposedly giving to
each the name of the animal he is to imitate. Instead,
he tells all to keep silent except one, who is to crow
lustily. He then counts one, two, three, and the rooster
crows while all the dumb animals laugh at him.
The players are given slips of paper and pencils, and
are directed to write a list of twenty-three things (given
in the first column). These are signed and exchanged
for the paper of the neighbor two seats to the right.
Then the following questions are asked them and they
read the answers as written:
1. Write Yes or No. Have you a lover?
2. State a gentleman 's What is his name ?
3. Give a number. How old is he?
4. Length of time. How long have you known
5. Yes or No. Does he know you love him ?
6. Yes or No. Is your affection returned?
7. Yes or No. Has he proposed?
8. A color. What color is his hair?
9. A color. What color are his eyes?
10. Yes or No. Is he handsome?
11. Yes or No, Is he conceited ?
12. A shape.
13. A measure.
14. A sum of money.
15. A sum of money.
16. A virtue.
17. A profession.
18. The name of a place.
19. A lady's name.
20. The name of a place.
21. A number.
22. Yes or No.
23. State a time.
What shape is his nose?
What size is his mouth?
What is his fortune?
How much will he allow
What is his chief virtue ?
What is his profession ?
Where did you first meet?
What is your rival's name?
Where do you intend to
How many other proposals
have you had?
Will the marriage be a
When will you be married?
Each guest is given a sheet of paper and told to write
an original line of poetry. He folds over this one and
tells his neighbor the last word of the line. The neigh-
bor, knowing only the last word of the previous line,
adds a second line to rhyme with the first. This is
folded over and in turn passed to the next neiglibor to
write a line after having been told the last word of the
last line, so that the poem is a succession of couplets.
When the poems have been around the circle each person
reads aloud the complete poem that has finally reached
One person goes out of the room, but before going he
is told that when he comes back be is to ask a question
ICE BREAKERS 29
of each person in turn in regard to some object which
they shall have chosen during his absence for him to
guess. All questions must be such as can be answered
by ''yes," ''no" or ''I don't know." After this player
has gone out, the hostess explains to the other players,
who are seated around the room, that each is to fix:
upon his left hand neighbor as the object to be guessed
and to answer all questions as they apply to this person.
It will be well to arrange the party, so that there will
be first a girl, then a man, and so on all around the
The Ridiculous Handkerchief
The leader should be a person with a contagious
laugh. He is provided with an ordinary white handker-
chief, which, when the plaj^ers have formed a circle
around him, he throws into the air. At this signal
everybody must laugh as heartily as possible until the
handkerchief touches the floor. If any one continues
to laugh after the handkerchief has touched the floor he
must drop out of the magic circle. Wlien all but one
player have been obliged to drop out, the prize is given
to that person.
The players form a circle standing about two feet
apart from each other. The leader stands in the middle,
holding a long stout string, to the end of which is tied
a small book wrapped in paper. The person in the
center of the circle whirls the book around the circle,
holding it by the string, and each time coming nearer
the feet of the players who form the circle. The book
comes nearer and nearer the feet until the players must
30 ICE BREAKERS
jump over it to avoid being hit. As soon as the book
touches the feet of any one, that person must drop out
until five people have been put out. Then a new circle
is formed, with the first one who had been hit, in the
Half of the company are blindfolded. They are then
seated so that each has a vacant chair at his right hand.
The remaining half of the players now gather in the
middle of the room in perfect silence. At a signal the
unblindfolded players each take one of the empty seats
next to the one blindfolded. When requested to sing
the unblindfolded ones must do so, disguising their
voices as they choose. The blindfolded persons listen
attentively and each tries to guess who his singing right
hand neighbor is. No blindfolded player is to remove
his bandage until he gives correctly the name of his
right hand neighbor.
The girls in the group are seated so that there is
an empty chair between every two girls. The men
stand in the center of the room until a signal is given,
whereupon they take any seat. Then the men are given
cards with topics of conversation written upon them.
2. The Bachelor Girl.
3. The Next Presidential Election.
4. The Ideal Man.
5. The Ideal Woman.
ICE BREAKERS 31
The men then begin their first conversation upon the
first topic with the girls to their left. This may last
for a given time, at the end of which the hostess rings a
bell. Anyone heard talking about anything but the as-
signed topic must sing a song in the center of the room.
The men all move to the right and discuss with the next
girl the second topic of conversation, and so on until
every man has had one conversation with every girl in
the room. Then votes are taken secretly by both the
men and the girls as to which one has been the best con-
versationalist. Prizes are awarded to the best man and
the best girl conversationalist.
The company is formed in two lines facing each other.
A pan of peanuts stands beside each leader, and an
empty pan at the end of each line. Every one in each
line clasps his neighbor's hands and must not once un-
clasp hands. At a signal the leader picks up one pea-
nut at a time and passes it down the line as rapidly as
possible. If a peanut is dropped it must be picked up
with hands clasped. The side which first passes all its
peanuts from one pan to the other gets all the peanuts.
Cut a good short story into paragraphs and hand it
about the group. The one who thinks she has the open-
ing paragraph begins to read. The one who thinks she
has the next paragraph begins hers, and so on, each
one listening so that she may bring in her part at the
right time. There is always someone who brings in
her part at the wrong time, making ''Handsome Harry
rush through the door"— ''clothed in exquisite furs
32 ICE BREAKERS
and scarlet satin, her complexion one of pearliest
The players form in a circle. The first player whis-
pers a sentence to the second, who repeats it to the third
and so on until the sentence comes to the first, who re-
peats aloud the original and the conclusion.
A Nosy Nose
Six or seven well known people are taken out of a
group and kept out of sight. A large paper with a hole
poked through it, is hung in front of the audience. One
by one the people behind the scenes poke their noses
through the hole, lingering until the audience guesses
the nose. A huge cardboard nose may also be stuck
One person tells a story which illustrates a proverb.
He may use motions which make it quite dramatic.
When he finishes, the audience guesses what it is. He
picks on one who he thinks didn't get it to act out
the next proverb.
The Paper Artist
One of two confederates leaves the room. The other,
with plenty of tablet paper at hand, pretends to make
an impression of some subject's face on a piece of paper,
by pressing it gently around the nose, eyes and mouth.
He calls in his confederate who tells him at once on
looking at the paper whose picture the artist took. He
does this by noticing his confederate's hands, which are
ICE BREAKERS 33
held exactly like those of the subject. This continues,
using fresh paper each time until someone catches on.
This is like ''Simon says thumbs up," but is best
played standing in a circle. The leader says ''Robins
fly," and raises his arms up and down in a flying
motion. The others do the same. This is repeated,
naming anything that flies, but if the leader names some-
thing that doesn't fly, as "Elephants fly," the rest
must not raise their arms. The leader raises his arms
whether right or not, to make it harder for the players.
All who make a mistake drop out of the circle. The
last one standing wins.
The group is divided into two sides. The first side
names an animal the name of which begins with "a."
The second side names another and so on until one side
is at the end of its resources and can't name any more.
That side gives up one of its players to the opposite side.
The losing side begins with "b," and then "c," and so
on, having a time limit. The side with the greatest
number of players wins.
The group activities which may be done to the ac-
companiment of music include folk-dances, musical
games, square dances and figure marching which have
been so adapted that they are easy to use with a large
group of men and girls and are enjoyed by large groups.
They can be used equally well for groups of ten or
twelve or for groups of two or three hundred. When-
ever possible, it makes the work of the director much
lighter, if ten or twelve sub-directors who know each
dance thoroughly can be scattered about through the
group. Unless the girls know the words to the singing
games it is never advisable to try to teach them to a
large group. A whistle for each change of step, when
the game is first being taught, is more effective. A quick
and easy way to get members of a large group into posi-
tion for folk dances, etc., is to use the grand march, and
divide and place the different groups as desired.
Grand March Figures
In the Grand March Figures, when entertaining girls
alone, have them fall in, facing the director in a single
line. They separate, first one going right, second left,
third right, etc. When the company includes men, have
them fall in in two separate lines, the men in one and
ICE BREAKERS 35
the girls in another. The following directions are based
on the assumption that two lines, one of men and one
of girls, face the director.
1. Lines separate, leaders taking them to other
end of room where the two lines meet and come up
double (with partners). 2. Stay with partners,
first couple going to right, second to left, third
to right, etc. 3. Come up in fours. 4. Divide in
twos again. 5. When these two lines of twos meet
at the far end of the room, the line at the direc-
tor's right forms a bridge by holding inside hands
high, while the other line passes under it, both
lines marching all the while. When they again
meet at director's end of the room, the other side
forms bridges and the former bridges pass under.
This is done twice, both sides forming bridges two
Come up in fours. The three at the right of
each line of four pivot right, leaving one on left side
to march alone to the left. Come up in fours.
Three at left side of each line pivot left, leaving one
at right to march alone. Come up in fours.
Fours divide into twos, going to right and left.
When the two lines approach each other at far end
of room, the leaders of each line take eight counts
to meet leaders of other line. On eight, these four
join hands in a circle and skip seven counts to
left. On the eighth count the two from the left
36 ICE BREAKER^
line pop under a bridge formed by the right side
couple, each couple going forward in eight counts
to meet the next couple of the opposite line. Re-
peat until leading couples again meet. Break
Countermarch. Each leader turns back close
upon his own line, turning always away from
center at each end of the room. When lines are
widely separated, leaders at far end of the room,
bring lines to center and come up in twos.
First couple to right, second to left, etc. When
the two lines meet at far end of room, men of left
column step inside, men of right column step out-
side and march on. Girls of left column march
next to men of right column, while girls of right
column march next to men of left column. This is
interlacing. Make complete circle of room twice.
Come up in fours.
Snake Dance. Fours right and left. Come up in
eights and halt with plenty of space between lines.
The leader is the one at the right end of the front
line. Hands held across each line. Leader with
first line skips into winding formation, leading her
line so that attachment can be made with line that
is waiting. Attachment can be made only between
last one of skipping line and one to extreme right
of waiting line. When entire group is in line, after
skipping along a twisted path, break ranks.
ICE BREAKERS 37
These figures may be used separately or with two or
three at a time, or sometimes even as one entire group,
but that is hardly advisable because smaller groups of
figures serve splendidly at intervals during an evening's
recreation. It is always effective to begin and close an
evening with a grand march.
The most suitable music is ''Turkey in the Straw,"
*' Whistling Rufus," ''Morning Si" and "Pop
Goes the Weasel."
For a very large new group, it is advisable to have
either a sub-director or two leaders who know the
figures thoroughly for each group. Groups should con-
sist of from ten to sixteen people. To get them into
position have all the men and girls get into two sep-
arate lines behind their respective leaders. The leaders
separate, leading their lines down the opposite sides of
the room, meet in center of the far end and come up
with partners. Directors go rapidly down line count-
ing couples off by six, sending the groups of twelve to
various parts of the room. The two lines of six sep-
arate and face each other in parallel lines. The players
clap hands in time with the music.
The people at the right ends of each line are called
diagonal right leaders; left ends, diagonal left leaders.
Each movement of diagonal right leaders is repeated by
diagonal left leaders. Right leaders begin.
1 Come to center and bow.
2. Swing each other round by right hands.
3. Swing each other round by left hands.
4. Swing each other round by both hands.
38 ICE BREAKERS
5. Do-Si-Do — . Arms folded high. Go round each
other at center, back to back.
6. All four leaders come to center, clasp right hands
across and swing round once.
The partners opposite each other at the heads of
the lines now lead the figures.
7. Hands on partner ^s shoulders, dance down center
8. Swing partner with right elbows locked.
9. Swing first one of partner's line, left elbows locked.
10. Swing partner — right elbows.
11. Swing second one of partner's line, left elbows
12. Swing partner.
This continues until leaders have swung each one of
partner's line. Leaders then dance down center, hands
on each other's shoulders, to their places at the heads
of their own lines. Each one leads his own line, turn-
ing away from center, to where last couple of group had
stood. There leaders join hands forming a bridge, un-
der which all pass with partners, first pair through
taking position of head couple, and the original first
couple remain where they formed bridge, taking posi-
tion of last couple. This continues until original first
couple gets back to place.
Music ''Turkey in the Straw." Verse only, repeated
over and over. Whistle is blown at end of verse.
This game is invaluable where there are more men
than girls or vice versa. Assume that there are more
men than girls. All the men bunch in the middle of the
ICE BREAKERS 39
room. The girls circle around them in as large a circle
as possible, faced for marching, which means always
with left hand toward inside of circle. At a command,
as many men as can, take any girl for a partner. The
rest stay in the center. The men and girls forming
the circle march around until a whistle blows. The
men then about face and march in the opposite direction,
while the girls march forward. At a second whistle
all the men including those from the center jump to
get a partner. The left-overs are not allowed to leave
the circle but must go to the center and wait for
the next chance. The marching continues as before.
This is one of the most popular games for large groups.
Music, ' ' Rig-a- Jig- Jig, " in ''The Most Popular Col-
Form a large single circle. Drop hands and step
back. Any number, vaiying according to the size of
the circle, but usually from two for a small circle to
ten for a large circle, are chosen to step inside the
circle and march around counter clock-wise, close to
the outer ring during the singing of the verse. At the
last *' heigh-ho" of the verse, they take the girl or man
— opposite, of course — nearest them, cross hands as in
skating and go skipping around the circle close to the
outside ring. At end of chorus all those inside the
circle drop hands and march around in single file. At
chorus, they take partner from outside circle. When all
have been chosen and have partners, the director calls
out ''change partners," at very short irregular inter-
vals, the players all the while skipping in a circle.
40 ICE BREAKERS
"We Won't Go Home Until Morning '»
Music, ''We Won't Go Home Until Morning." The
verse is played twice, then the chorus.
Form two parallel lines facing each other, partners
opposite. Get into position exactly as in a Virginia
Reel except that each group may contain as many as
Hands are clasped along the lines. Lines are called
left or right, being determined left or right by director's
1. 3 walking steps forward and bob to partner,
2. 3 steps backward and bob (1-2-3-bob).
3. Lines marching, cross over, exchanging places
in following manner: those of right line hold
hands high, while those of left line drop hands
and pass under these hands held high, passing
to partner's right. This may be done in seven
short steps, on count 8 facing about and bow-
ing, standing in partner's place.
4. Repeat 1, all holding hands along lines.
5. Repeat 2.
6. Repeat 3.
1. Clap hands (1-2-3 pause).
3. Clasping both hands of partners, all slide down
center, 4 counts, and back 4 counts.
4. Swing partner by right hand, 4 counts.
5. Back to place and bow, 4 counts.
Nigarepolska Music, '^Nigarepolska.
Count number of players in circle. Take out a num-
ber of players, wbicb number goes evenly into the whole
number. For instance, if there are twenty-four in the
circle, take out either two, four or six players. They
face any one they choose, a man facing a girl, etc.
Every one has hands on hips and hops four times to
music, hopping first on the left foot and touching the
right heel to the floor, change, etc. At chorus those on
the inside of the circle jump about, facing center, clap-
ping hands once, then folding arms. Those whom they
faced place hands on their shoulders. They run around
the circle, counter clock-wise keeping close to the outer
ring, in short running steps. At end of chorus they
stop in front of the one closest at hand, and still in that
same position all do the hop step. At chorus, hands are
dropped from shoulders and those inside the circle jump
around facing center, each in his own place, and the one
whom they faced joins their line by placing his hands
on the shoulders of the back one. This makes three in
every line. This is repeated, and the train has four
units, then five and so on, until every one has been
chosen for some line, each line adding to itself only
one person at a time. "When the last ones have been
chosen, the lines are all united by all leaders putting
hands on the shoulders of the last one of the line ahead.
The music is played faster and faster until the circle
"Pop Goes the Weasel" (Music, ''Pop Goes the
Form in sets of three couples, partners facing. Get
into position as for a Virginia Reel.
16 measures — First couple turn away from each other
and skip down outside of lines (8 counts) and back
again (8 counts). Joining hands they slide down the
center of set (8 counts) and back again (8 counts).
8 measures — First couple with lady of second couple,
form circle and skip around, and on last bar pop sec-
ond lady under their arms into first lady's place.
8 measures — Repeat with gentleman of second couple.
8 measures — Repeat with gentleman of third couple.
The first couple is now at the bottom of the set. Join
hands all around and skip one full circle to the left.
4 measures— All partners join right hands and skip
once around each other to place. The second couple,
now at the head, repeat the figures, then the third
couple, and so on.
"Merry-Go-Round" Music, ''Merry-Go-Round."
Form a double circle, partners facing. Get players
into this formation, having leaders lead double line up
to director and then marching together, lead lines into
a large circle, either men or girls inside. Hands on
Young maid, young maid, young maid, young maid dear,
Go get your hat and parasol, the circus it is here.
Three for the big ones, five for the small.
Hurry up, hurry up, you can not go at all.
Hop, hop, hop, the day it is so clear,
For Andersen and Petersen and Lundstrom, my dear.
Hop, hop, hop, the day it is so clear.
For Andersen and Petersen and Lundstrom, my dear.
By permission of Mary Wood Hinman.
44 ICE BREAKERS
1. Hop on left foot pointing right toe directly
to side, change quickly to right foot, pointing
left toe to side alternating rapidly. This con-
tinues through ''The circus it is here." A
whistle at that point may be the signal for
change in step.
2. Hop on left foot, pointing right toe forward,
changing quickly to right foot and alternating
through "Five for the small."
3. Stamp quickly 1-2-3, pause, 1-2-3, pause
1-2-3-4-5. These stamps are in time with the
words ' ' Hur-ry up ! " etc.
Chorus: All face center, inner circle joining hands,
those outside putting hands on partner's shoulders.
They imitate a merry-go-round, which goes very slowly
at first, then faster and faster until it spins. The in-
side circle must be kept small or disaster is inevitable !
The step is a slide (to the right always) long and slow,
at first, then rapidly becoming faster. At the end of
the chorus partners change places, repeating from be-
When using this game for girls only, it is advisable
to teach the words, but when there is a very large new
group of girls and men, a whistle for each change of
steps is most effective.
The music should be lively march music and full of
If entertaining a very large group get as many chairs
as possible. If a small group, get one more chair than
players. Place the chairs in a line so that one faces one
way and the next the other way. The players line up
ICE BREAKERS 45
close to the chairs. When the music starts they march
around the chairs, and when it stops, most unexpectedly,
they scramble for a chair. If a very large group is
playing all who did not get chairs drop out of line.
One chair is removed each time, with the unsuccessful
players dropping out one by one until the two last play-
ers try for the remaining chair. Girls or men may be
substituted for chairs, each standing with right hand
The formation is just as in ''Popularity,^' except that
all face the center, with the girls seated as far apart as
possible and their men partners standing behind them.
The surplus men or girls are in the center. The pianist
plays different kinds of music which indicate the step
to be used. If she plays a march, all the men who
are standing behind chairs must face for marching and
march around until, when the music stops suddenly,
all the men rush for partners. Those who get left go
to the center. The excitement comes in the suddenness
with which the music stops. It may be necessary to
have a girl leader to call out and perhaps demonstrate
the various steps called for by the music. These steps
may include a Run, March, Tip-toe, High step, Gallop,
Fly, and Hippity-hop.
Music, ''Morning Si."
In the barn-dance there are two steps which are used
Step No. 1. Three short running steps and hop (step
— step — step — hop). This step is al-
ways done twice.
46 ICE BREAKERS
Step No. 2. Step — hop, step — hop, step — hop, step
New barn-dance figures are very easily formed, using
the two different steps as a foundation. The following
are some suggestions for figures. The lady is always at
the gentleman's right. In using any of these figures,
they are repeated over and over until the music stops.
First Figure — Position, facing forward, inside hands
Step No. 1. Partners go forward.
Step No. 2. Lady crosses diagonally in front of man
and back to place, man doing step
hop in place.
Repeat Step No. 1.
Step No, 2. Gentleman crosses diagonally and back.
Second Figure — Position, partners face, gentleman
going backwards, hands on shoul-
ders. ^ . ---
Step No. 1. Go in direction lady is facing. ^"
Step No. 2. Slowly reverse positions.
Step No. 1. Go in direction gentleman is facing.
Step No. 2. Reverse.
Third Figure — Position, both facing forward holding
hands crossed as in skating, right
hands on top.
Step No. 1. Forward.
Step No. 2. Raise arms, not dropping hands, lady
turning away from partner toward
her right, makes a complete circle,
man doing step-hop in place.
Step No. 1. Forward.
ICE BREAKERS 47
Step No. 2. ]\Ian makes circle, turning away from
partner to his left.
Fourth Figure — Position, in fours. Partners face
forward, the two front ones join-
ing inside hands only, giving out-
side hands to the other two in
same position back of them.
Step No. 1. Forward.
Step No. 2. Back two step-hop in place keeping hold
of hands. First two drop inside
front hands only and turning away
from each other step-hop around the
other two, until they meet behind
them. They join hands, and the
formation is now with the original
front couple in the rear and the orig-
inal back couple in the front.
Step No. 1. Forward.
Step No. 2. Exactly like Step No. 2 above, the front
couple separating and going to rear.
J * J
Used by permision of Clayton F. Summy Company, owners of
Noriu Miego. Music, Noriu Miego, played more
quickly each time the dance is repeated.
Form in sets of fours, all facing center of square.
Ladies opposite, gentlemen opposite.
1. Ladies hands on hips, gentlemen arms folded on
chest. Hop on left foot and place right foot forward.
Hop on right foot and place left foot forward. (2
ICE BREAKERS 49
counts for each change.) Measures 1 and 2. Hop on
left foot and place right foot forward. Hop on right
foot and place left foot forw^ard. Hop on left foot and
place right foot forward. (1 count for each change.)
Measures 3 and half of measure 4. Rest remainder of
2. All clap hands once. Ladies join right hands,
gentlemen join right hands. All circle with seven walk-
ing steps. Turn about on seventh step. Measures 1 to
4 inclusive. All clap hands once. Circle in opposite
direction with left hands joined. Measures 5 to 8 in-
There is almost no limit to cue's resources for finding and
adapting material of the kind suggested in this chapter. The
above are merely examples of the type of activity most effec-
tive, and the adaptations necessary. In choosing material of
this kind it is essential that the cotillion figures be simple
enough to give the maximum amount of pleasure to a group.
Bibliography for Musical Games
For folk dances, "Folk Dances and Singing Games," by
Elizabeth Burehenal. Schirmer, New York. $1.50.
"Hinman Gymnastic Dancing," Voliune III, by Mary Wood
"Lithuanian Folk Dances," by Helen Rich Shipps. Clay-
ton Summy Company, Chicago. 40 cents.
For figure marching, "Cotillion Figures," Watkins. Neal
Publishing Company, New York. $1.00.
For square dances, such as, "Old Dan Tucker," "Money
Musk," etc., "Complete Dancing Master and Call Book," H.
J. Wehman Brothers, New York. 25 cents.
"Polite and Social Dances," by Man Ruef Hofer, Clayton
Summy Company, Chicago. $1.00.
"The Most Popular College Songs," Hinds, Hayden and
Eldridge, New York. 50 Cents.
Grouping People for Stunts
If one has a very large company and wishes to di-
vide them, each separate group to give a stunt, they
may be divided in one of the following ways, a placard
showing each group where to stand:
1. According to month of birth.
2. According to birthplace.
3. Red-headed, light-headed, black-headed, brown-
4. According to profession, teachers, students, clerks,
5. According to height, long, short, indifferent.
6. According to avoirdupois, fat, lean, middling.
i Upsetting Exercises
A take-off on a setting-up drill. The class and
teacher are dressed in the most ridiculous manner. The
following commands are given while soft sweet music is
1. '^ Class, fall in" (fall all over each other).
2. *'Line up according to fight" (fight for place).
3. ''Right dress" (button up coats, collars, etc.).
4. ''Class undress" (unbutton and start to take off
coats, collars, etc.).
ICE BREAKERS 51
5. '' Forward march. On toes march. Backward
march. ' '
6. ''Class, halt" (with several counts).
7. ''Eye rolling with mouth open."
8. "Cheek puffing alternately."
9. "Nose twitching alternately, sidewards and up-
wards. ' '
10. ' ' Winking alternately. ' '
11. "Class, face rest."
12. "Foot placing forward, alternately" (clasp foot
with both hands and lift it forward).
13. "Grasp nose with right hand, and right ear with
left hand. Change."
14. "Hop toad position" (take an incorrect prone
falling position with head downward, and on second
count fall flat with hands extended).
15. "Tongue stretching forward."
16. "Head scratching alternately, right. Change
17. "Class fall out."
Intersperse such remarks as, "Less attention and
A sweater is buttoned around the lower part of the
body, not coming any higher than the waist. A stick
or umbrella is put through the sleeves with gloves at-
tached at each end. A pillow case which is tucked in
at the waist is put over the head with arms held high,
holding it there. Be sure of a very secure fastening
for both sweater and pillow case at waist line. The goop
when so dressed gives the appearance of possessing a
very large head and short body. He comes in wobbling
52 ICE BREAKERS
as though he were top-heavy and sings this song in the
most plaintive, forlorn, hopeless tone possible, to almost
any or no tune :
I with I wuth a little bird,
I'd fly to the top of a tree,
I'd thit and thing my thad little thong,
But I can't thtay here by mythelf.
I can't thtay here by mythelf,
I can't thtay here by mythelf,
I'd thit and thing my thad little thong.
But I can't thtay here by mythelf.
I with I wuth a little fith,
I'd think to the bottom of the thea,
I 'd thit and thing my thad little thong.
But I can't thtay here by mythelf.
Alath, how little do we know
How many hearths are thad.
I long to thoothe thome twoubled bweatht.
And make thome thad heart glad.
A variation of this is to have three or four girls
dressed like goops come in and dance. Any folk dance
is made ridiculously funny in this way.
ICE BREAKERS 53
7v Bride and Groom
One person does this, with one side of the body
dressed like a man, the other side like a woman. This
is very easily done by putting on the man's clothes
first, pulling the hair straight over to one side and to
that side of the head pinning a man's soft hat, which
has one side pushed into the other. The shoe on that
side must be most masculine. The woman's clothes can
be drawn together so that only one half shows. For
example, one sleeve of her waist can be pushed right
through the other sleeye. The impersonator carries on
a most animated conversation as if between a bride and
groom. If the groom is talking she turns the groom
side to the audience and talks in a deep bass voice. If
it is the bride, she whirls that side around and talks
in a decidedly feminine voice. They make love to each
other, quarrel, make up, and enact a complete romance.
Italian Grand Opera
Arrange a touching love scene, having much dramatic
action and singing, using such words as Spaghetti,
Tamale, Macaroni, Parchesi, San Francisco, Caruso,
Amato, etc. A mock accompaniment may be played on
a piano without striking any of the keys, but with all
the flourishes of an impresario.
A girl is concealed so that only her hands show. Over
these, clasped together, is tied a handkerchief on which
are drawn the features of a woman. Questions are then
asked of Peggy which are solemnly answered by a nod
or shake of the **head." These questions may include
54 ICE BREAKERS
hits at some of those present. The little finger can be
moved, giving the appearance of eating.
One person is introduced as a famous ventriloquist
and several girls are dressed up as dummies. The ven-
triloquist carries on an animated conversation vrith the
dummies, pretending to perform a genuine ventriloquist
stunt, by visibly moving her lips and yet trying to con-
ceal it when the sounds seem to come from the dummies '
mouths. In reality, of course, the girls inside the
dummy figures are answering her, in most mechanical
tones, moving their lips in the stiffest, most unnatural
fashion. The fun lies in the mistakes that are made
towards the end of the performance. For instance, the
ventriloquist might stop moving her lips, and a dummy
continues to talk. At the end, when the ventriloquist is
not looking, the dummy figures suddenly come to life
and walk to the front of the stage and bow profusely,
as the ventriloquist bows. The latter makes her exit in
The dialogue should be humorous, quick and snappy.
The Doctor Magician
Setting — Doctor's office.
Characters — Doctor with large spoons, empty bottles,
etc., at hand. Short fat woman who wants to get tall
and slender. Tall, thin woman who wants to get short
Fasten two stuffed heads with features marked and
with hats on, on the ends of umbrellas. Just below each
one, with a fur boa or some neck piece to fill the gap,
loosely drape a long kimono. Open one umbrella and
ICE BREAKERS 55
have a very tall girl hunch down inside it, appearing to
be a very short, fat woman. She waddles in to the
office with great difficulty, and with much puffing and
wheezing asks to be made thin. The doctor looks at her
in dismay, then seizes a bottle and a huge spoon and
pretends to pour some medicine down her throat and
tells her to stand still one minute, after which the
medicine will have worked and he can complete his
treatment. The other umbrella is kept closed and a
short girl gets under the kimono, holding the umbrella
high above her head. She walks into the office with a
fussy, nervous step and demands in a squeaky voice
that she be made fat. The doctor stands on a chair and
administers the same treatment. He then takes a
squirt gun and, filling it with an imaginary prepa-
ration, shoots it into the mouth of each, at which treat-
ment the fat one's avoirdupois collapses and she shoots
up in height, while the thin one rapidly spreads but
sinks until she is short and fat. The short fat woman
of course has closed her umbrella and stands up straight
holding it high above her, while the tall thin woman
opens her umbrella and pulls it way down. They de-
scend upon the doctor and after embracing him depart
in great joy. The conversation is impromptu.
The equipment is a large square box, with the open
side facing a rear room. Only the top and the front of
the box are visible to the audience, everything else being
curtained off. On the top is a clothes wringer, in which
are inserted the records, narrow slips of paper, yards
in length. There is a hole in the front of the box in
which a megaphone is placed. Before each feat an an-
56 ICE BREAKERS
nouncer puts his head in the box and in a nasal tone
drawls out the subjects of the records. The scraping
sound of graphophones is made by rubbing something
rough against a tin can. As each ''record" is put on,
the paper is inserted, the crank is turned, the announce-
ment is made and then the performers, who are in the
room behind the curtain, stick their heads in their turn
into the box and sing or speak through the megaphone.
The selections may be either good or very funny
music, solos, duets and even quartets, or readings, the
humorous ones being the most fitting.
Different advertisements are acted out, to be guessed
by the audience after all action has ceased. For ex-
ample, "Colgate's lies flat on the brush" is illustrated
by a girl placing a brush on the floor and lying flat on
it; ''Wool Soap" by a fat girl mournfully looking at
her sweater which is four sizes too small since it Vv^as
The Bachelor Brother invites two Spinster Sisters to
ride in his new Ford. The Ford is made of armchairs
for automobile seats, an inverted folding chair for the
engine with a lantern on it, and a handle attached, such
as an ice cream freezer handle. Some one whirling an
egg-beater behind the scenes, produces an exact Ford
sound. The tourists dress up in ridiculous motoring
clothes and with much ado and nervous shrill conversa-
tion get in. Bachelor Brother receiving minute directions
as to how to drive. They remark on the beautiful
scenery they pass, are arrested for speeding, run over
ICE BREAKERS 57
a chicken (farmer produces feathers as evidence), have
a blow-out, have nervous chills, one faints, and the
Bachelor Brother works up quite a temper. The ride
ends when the machine falls over an embankment.
Romeo and Juliet
Juliet stands on a ladder, dressed in white. Romeo,
in plumed hat, velvet cloak, etc., stands below her, look-
ing up, and the following dialogue takes place :
Romeo — ''It vas her, Oh, it vas mein luf. She schpeaks
somedings aber I don't fershtand vat she say. Oh,
see, she has her scheek on her handt. Oh, if that mit-
ten on her handt vas me dot I might touch dat
scheek ! ' '
Juliet — ''Ah, me!'*
Romeo — "Oh, schpeak, von dimes more pright angel
JuLiETr—" Romeo, Romeo, ver you was?"
Romeo — "I took dhee at dhy vord und came.
Call me, luf, und I come quick ! ' '
Juliet — "How you got dot garten in?"
Romeo — "Mit luf's light vings I der vail schump over
like a geese pird. ' '
Juliet — "If mein fader see you, it was petter if you
diedt before you vas porn."
Romeo — ' ' I haf e me one night 's cloak to hide me in, und
if you luf me it vas petter if I gone dedt here before
dose pright eyes as some places oderv\^here, ain't it?"
Juliet — "0 Romeo, you make me plush aber you gant
see dot in de night. O dost dhou luf me?"
Romeo — "Schweed goil, I schwear by dot moon I luf
58 ICE BREAKERS
Juliet — "Oh, schwear not by dot moon. Sometimes lie
don't shine and such luf like dose I don't vant."
Romeo — ' ' Dan vat I schall schwear py, fair geese pird ? ' '
Juliet — ''Don't schwear at all, but if dhou moost
schwear, schwear py your own gracious self."
Romeo — "So help me, gracious, I luf dhee."
Juliet — "Goot nightd, good nightd, I must me on der
Romeo — "0 golly, you gone away?
Juliet — "Vat goot for me gan you tonight hafe?
Romeo — "Dot you gan gif me yourself und all your
Juliet — "You got my luf pefore you ask him, and I
gif him to you again und again, und again I must to
ped now go. Goot nightd, goot nightd, goot nightd ! ' '
Romeo — "Der teufel! She vas gone! Oh, you agin
pack ? I got me shceerd, I dought you don 't get agin
Juliet — "Romeo, hist!"
Romeo — "Schweed vone, I hist, I don'd gare if I hist
the nightd through so you pin der hister. It vas so
schweed to stand here."
Juliet — "It vas near morning und I vould haff dhee
gone. I must on der ped go. I see dhee agin."
Romeo — "Oh me. Oh me, dot vas too pad. Schleep,
schweed schleep. I come me some odder nightd.
Goot nightd, goot nightd
The Mock Trial
Any subject may be used for the trial but the more
apt the charge, the better. By using well known people
as witnesses, plaintiff, defendant, jury, etc., a great deal
of fun is aroused. Much depends on securing capable
ICE BREAKERS 59
lawyers." Everything, while bearing the air of the
greatest seriousness, must be made absolutely ludicrous
in its application. Previous rehearsal spoils the fun;
the impromptu feature lends a charm.
A Mock Political Convention
This needs just a little bit of preparation and parts
are assigned a few days ahead of time. The make-ups .
of well-known presidential candidates, the chairman of
the convention, the policemen, the telegraph messenger
boy can be well caricatured. A most dignified proces-
sion into the convention hall opens the events of the
evening. A brief business meeting follows, and then
the names of the respective candidates are placed in
nomination. Personal allusions bring out sharp retorts •^
and the speeches of the candidates themselves can give
a spicy lesson in current events. Hurrying messenger
boys and the ejection of some disqualified delegates lend
diversion and interrupt the serious addresses.
y Pipe Organ.
Girls in black waists stand behind a curtain which
comes up to the waist line.
Make pipes of heavy wrapping paper, large enough to
go down over the girls' heads. These may be gilded.
Slits may be made in each pipe over the girl's mouth.
Any number of girls may be used, but five is sufficient,
arranged with the tallest in the center. The girls hold
out their hands stiffly with the fingers together, palms
upward, for the keyboard. The organist sits on a stool
and plays, making different movements as if some
fingers were stops, etc. The girls make different sounds
as they are played upon. A soloist may sing a touching
60 ICE BREAKERS
old or new song to the music. One pipe out of tune is
;^ "Well, I Will"
One person gives this, twisting her mouth according
to directions for each character. As she speaks for Sail,
for instance, who calls Ma, she must twist her mouth
like Sail 's. At the end when she says for John, ' * What
a blessing, etc.," she must twist her mouth rapidly, to
imitate the peculiar twists of each mouth.
''Ma's got a mouth like this" (lips pulled in).
"Pa's got a mouth like this" (lips parted and held
stiffly apart like the mouth of a fish).
''Sail's got a mouth like this" (mouth twisted to left
"Sam, he's Sail's beau, he's got a mouth like this"
(mouth twisted to right side).
"John went off to college and he's got a mouth like
this" (mouth straight).
"One night Sam came to see Sail, and Sam said,
'Sail, will you marry me?' Sail said, 'I guess so.'
'Well, I wish you would.' 'Well, I will.'
"So that night they got married, and Sam had to
blow out the candle" (blow). " 'Sail, I can't blow this
candle out, come see if you can.' 'All right.' 'Well, I
wish you would.' 'Well,-- 1 will.' (Sail tries.)
" 'Sam, I can't blow this candle out, I'll call Ma.'
'Well, I wish you would.' 'Well, I will. Ma, Ma! I
wish you'd come and see if you can blow this candle
out. Sam tried and I tried, and we can't blow it out
so come and see if you can.' 'All right.' 'Well, I wish
you would.' 'Well, I will.' (Tries blowing.) 'Sail,
Sail, I can't blow this candle out, I'll call Pa.' 'Well, I
ICE BREAKERS 61
wish you would.' 'Well, I will. Pa, Pa, come and see if
you can blow this candle out, Sam tried and Sail tried
and I tried and we can't blow it out. Come see if you
can.' 'All right.' 'Well, I wish you would.' 'Well, I
will. Ma, Ma, I can't blow this candle out, I'll call
John. ' ' Well, I wish you would. ' ' Well, I will. John,
John, come and see if you can blow this candle out. Sam
tried. Sail tried, Ma tried and I tried and we can't blow
it out. Come and see if you can.' *A11 right.' 'Well,
I wish you would.' 'Well, I will.' " (Blows it out.)
"What a blessing it is to have one straight mouth in the
family. ' '
Have You 'Eared about Hairy?
The one who tells the news does so slowly, but melo-
dramatically, slapping the second man on the part of
the body named in his story. ' ' Chester ' ' merely listens
with mouth wide open, jumping nervously at each slap,
but at the end knocking down the first man. The two
come in from opposite sides and bump into one another.
The first one immediately becomes excited and says,
"Hello, Chester (chest). Have you eared (ear) about
Hairy? (hair). He jest (chest) got back (back) from
the front (knees) to do feats (stepping on both feet)
for the army (arm). Hip hip (hips) hooray for the
army!" (arms), whereupon Chester knocks him flat.
Three Land-Lubbers in Bathing
Three people enter, dressed in bathing costumes.
They approach imaginary water, put in the tips of their
toes, draw back, feel the water with their hands, shiver,
put water on their necks, venture in, draw feet up high,
take hold of hands, advance and finally all duck down
62 ICE BREAKERS
and at that moment all give a sudden yell, turn about
and dash off the stage. As all has been absolutely still
up to the yell, it is a surprise.
Cast — the coquette, a maid, four gentlemen callers.
Scene — a sitting room.
The coquette, dressed in a very fancy gown, sits read-
ing, when a ring is heard. The maid, with -a large tray,
goes to the door, and, after taking in the card, ushers
in the first suitor. He presents the girl with a bunch of
artificial flowers, after which they sit down and carry on
a very animated pantomime conversation. Soon another
ring is heard, and the maid again goes to the door. She
brings in the card of a second suitor. The coquette,
embarrassed and excited, snatches her first caller from
his chair, forces him to his knees, and makes him hold
the maid's tray over his head. She grabs up a table
cover and throws it over the tray, thus covering the
man^s head, and converting him into a table. The sec-
ond suitor is then ushered in. He brings a box of candy,
and after presenting it, another pantomime conversation
is held. A third caller arrives with a gift, and while he
is being met at the door by the maid, the unfortunate
second is converted into a hatrack by covering his head
with an overcoat and thrusting his arms part way
through the sleeves and hanging a hat upon one of his
arms. Caller Number Three comes in leisurely, puts his
hat on the rack, takes off his gloves, and after he has
made love to Miss Jones for a few minutes the doorbell
again rings. Caller Number Four is announced but
after a moment's reflection, Miss Jones now conceives the
idea of making Caller Number Three into an armchair;
ICE BREAKERS 63
he is accordingly put down on a chair, and a cover is
thrown over him to make him resemble an armchair.
Caller Number Four comes in and sits down in the arm-
chair which hits the hatrack. The hatrack in turn top-
ples over the table so they all go in a heap on the floor.
The screen is quickly turned or drawn.
S. 0. S. B. V. D.
Q. E. D. X.Y.Z. P.D. Q.
A girl sits in an imaginary garden with some one
holding branches of trees, etc., over her head. A lover
comes in. She is greatly surprised, cries, ''B. V. D."
and falls into his arms, whereupon he says feelingly,
**S. 0. S.!'' The romance continues, they are absorbed
in each other, he brings forth a box of candy, finally
they quarrel and at last make up. All this is shown
through facial expression, gesticulations and by using
such combinations of letters as shown above. The ro-
mance can be enlarged upon as desired.
y^The Dwarf Exhibit
Two persons play the dwarf, a third acting as an
exhibitor who should prepare beforehand a humorous
speech setting forth the history and accomplishments of
the dwarf. By an improvised screen hide all the prepa-
rations in dressing the dwarf.
To arrange and dress the dwarf, place a table on the
platform and cover it with a cloth or curtain that will
reach to the floor. One person stands behind the table
and places his hands on it ; these with his arms form
the feet and legs of the dwarf. Over his arms should be
64 ICE BREAKERS
drawn a pair of boy's trousers and on his hands should
be a pair of shoes. The trousers should be drawn down
until they reach the heels like a man 's. A second person
stands behind the first and passes his arms under the
first one's shoulders. By putting a coat over the arms
and buttoning it down the figure of the first person and
then throwing a cape around his neck, so arranged as
to cover the head of the person behind, the dwarf's
dress is completed. The hands of the second person act
as the hands of the dwarf, and as the latter makes his
appearance, they raise his hat when he bows to the
audience. The exhibitor should then recite the various
accomplishments of the dwarf, including dancing and
even his ability to suspend himself in the air without
support. The dwarf should then be invited to entertain
the audience, and he should begin by making a little
speech in either a thin falsetto or a heavy bass voice, or
by speaking any humorous piece. The second player
makes gestures to the speech which in themselves will
create a laugh. Then the dwarf begins to dance. The
hands of the first performer do this, and all of a sudden
in the midst of a quick step they are both lifted from
the table and remain suspended in the air for a quarter
of a minute. Then they drop to the table again and
the dwarf appears to be exhausted with the unusual
In making his parting salute to the audience the
dwarf astonishes them all by putting both feet to his
mouth and throwing kisses with his toes.
How We Got the American Flag
Several persons stand behind a sheet which they hold
ICE BREAKERS 65
about four feet from the floor. Broomsticks show above
the sheet. The stage manager comes in, labels sheet,
*'Camp," broomsticks, ''Guns," and places such signs
as ''Trees," "More Trees," "Moon," etc., around on
chairs in front of the sheet.
Enter First Soldier. Patrols in front of camp.
Enter Second Soldier. Salute.
Second Soldier — "Say, we ain't got no flag."
First Soldier — "I know, ain't it fierce!"
Second Soldier — "What 're we goin' to do about it?"
First Soldier— "I'll see George."
Second Scene :
First Soldier is still patroling camp. Enter George
First Soldier — "Say, George, we ain't got no flag."
George — ' ' I know, ain 't it fierce ! ' *
First Soldier — "What 're we goin' to do about it?"
George—' ' I '11 see Betsy. ' '
Camp label changed to "Home of Betsy Ross." Betsy
minding the baby. Enter George Washington.
George — "Say, Betsy, we ain't got no flag."
Betsy — "I know, ain't it fierce!"
George — "What 're we goin' to do about it?"
Betsy — "Here, you hold the baby and I'll make one."
Baby of course squalls. After very short pantomime
of sewing with back to audience, Betsy waves a
Performers all sing the "Star Spangled Banner."
66 ICE BREAKERS
The Hawaiian Musicians
Several girls wear black jerseys and skirts made of
hay. They stand together in a little group on the stage
and in a ridiculous fashion burlesque Hawaiian singing.
They sing any foolish song, dragging out the notes in
long, lingering tones or shrilly, in true Hawaiian fash-
One tune used successfully is, *'One grasshopper
jumped right over the other grasshopper's back," etc.,
to the tune of ''John Brown's Body."
d Tight Rope Walker
Stretch a large, thick rope across the floor and have
the performer walk back and forth on it, going through
the various antics of a real tight rope walker. She may
be dressed in any funny costume, and should wear the
usual kimono over it, struggling to retain her balance
by means of a tiny parasol. First, after much hard
work, she may remove her kimono and 'then carry on
her other various tight rope walking acts, for example,
balancing a pencil or similar object on her nose or chin
by having a piece of chewing-gum stuck on the end of
the object and sticking it in place. The performer must
know the usual stunts of a tight rope walker and it is
very amusing to see them carried out on the floor in-
stead of in mid-air.
The Champion High Singers
Three or four people enter, and crouching down on
their heels, sing a song in a very low key. They rise
gradually, stand straight, then on tiptoe, and finally
climb on chairs, raising the key of the song with each
process until they are singing at impossible heights.
ICE BREAKERS 67
The Inverted Quartet
A quartet, with only their heads showing above a
sheet, sing a really beautiful song. At the end of their
song they apparently stand on their heads and repeat
the chorus, only their feet showing. This is done by
having them put socks and shoes on their hands and
raising them up above the sheet when heads are ducked.
Just before the end, one of the people who holds the
sheet accidentally drops his end.
The Cat Fight
Two people enter dressed in black cat costumes, and
do the Oxdansen from ''Folk Dances and Singing
Games" by Elizabeth Burchenal.
Pig Tail Quartet
Four girls who have good voices and long pig tails
stand in a row with their backs to the audience. The
music-master produces a most wonderful quartet by
pulling on the pig tails as he would pull bell-ropes.
After a good selection, they may sing a funny one and
at the end he pulls off, by mistake, a false pig tail.
Famous and local characters are impersonated, both
in appearance, action and talk, the audience guessing
who is being impersonated. No guesses are allowed
until the character has finished his performance.
The Doll Shop
A fastidious buyer and her bored young daughter
came into a doll shop to search for a doll, ''Something
68 ICE BREAKERS
different, don't you know!" The shop keeper calls out
his dolls one by one. They come in mechanically, per-
form the stunts he calls on them to do and line up
glassy-eyed against the wall, where startling things may
happen, such as one throwing a stiff fit because a wrong
wire has been touched. Personal hits at those taking the
part of dolls may be made. The buyers leave soon with
such remarks as, ''The dolls have no life — no animation
— so common, don't you know!
The following pieces are made ridiculously funny by
exchanging the first letters of words:
I. Once a big molice pan
Met a bittle lum
Sitting on a sturb cone
Chewing gubber rum.
*'Hi," said the molice pan,
*' Won't you simme gum?"
**Tixxy on your nin type,"
Said the bittle lum.
11. Heard about my little dog difo?
Bought him when he pas a wup,
Taught him to stand on his lind hegs.
And hold his lont fregs up.
III. The night was stark and dormy, the wind went
The lightning fashed in flury and the runder
thored on high,
A little old cog labin stood by a rountain moad
ICE BREAKERS 6^
And from its wroken brindow a flickering shandle
A faint but biendly feakon it wone upon the shay
To those githout its widence who might go star
The dabin core stood open and from it meared a
Intent on sowing gumware and in rad glags ar-
And when she law the sightning, and heard the
She wumbled to the tether and dut the shore
The four stunts following are acted out in pantomime,
accompanied by a most dramatic reading of the story.
Lord UUen's Daughter
Suggestions for staging — A sheet, with a person at
each corner to keep it waving, represents the sea ; a
clothes-basket serves as the boat, and tennis racquets as
Cast — Boatman, lovers, father, horsemen.
A Chieftain to the Highlands bound
Cries, "Boatman, do not tarry,
And I'll give thee a silver pound
To row us 'er the ferry. ' '
**Now, who be ye, would cross Lochgyle,
This dark and stormy water?"
"Oh, I'm the Chief of Ulva's Isle,
And this. Lord Ullen's daughter.
70 ICE BREAKERS
And fast before her father's men,
Three days weVe fled together,
For should he find us in the glen
My blood would stain the heather.
His horsemen hard behind us ride,
Should they our steps discover,
Then who will cheer my bonny bride.
When they have slain her lover
Outspoke the hardy Highland wight,
**I'll go, my Chief, I'm ready,
It is not for your silver bright,
But for your winsome lady.
**And by my word, my bonny bird
In danger shall not tarry.
So, though the waves are raging white,
I'll row you o'er the ferry."
By this the storm grew loud apace.
The water wraith was shrieking,
And in the scowl of Heaven, each face
Grew dark as they were speaking.
But still, as wilder blew the wind,
And as the night grew drearer,
Adown the glen rode armed men.
Their tramping sounded nearer.
Oh, haste thee, haste," the lady cries,
Though tempests 'round us gather,
I'll meet the raging of the skies.
But not an angry father."
ICE BREAKERS 71
And still they rowed against the roar
Of waters fast prevailing.
Lord Ullen reached that fatal shore,
His wrath was turned to wailing.
For sore dismayed, through storm and shade
His child he did discover,
One lonely hand she stretched for aid
And one was 'round her lover.
**Come back, come back," he cried in grief,
** Across this stormy water.
And I'll forgive your Highland Chief,
My daughter. Oh, my daughter."
'Twas vain, the loud waves lashed the shore,
Return or aid preventing,
The water wild went o'er his child,
And he was left lamenting.
The Eskimo Tragedy
Suggestions for staging — Footlights, several red-
headed girls with paper bags on heads labeled, *'Ye foot-
lights," bags to be removed when play begins. Chairs
draped with sheets, labeled, *'Ye Icebergs." A tall girl
at either side of the stage labeled, ''Ye Curtain Pole."
Two or three girls with frills of colored paper around
their necks and frilled paper caps are brought in by
the stage manager and seated behind the footlights,
around each is fastened a band of red paper, to repre-
sent a flower pot, and each is labeled ''Ye Potted
72 ICE BREAKERS
Cast — Eskimo, Eskimaid, Fido, the Dog, Eskimur-
derer, the Rival.
Costumes — Eskimo and Eskimaid in fur coats and with
fur muffs on the head and on each leg. Fido is repre-
sented by a girl, on all fours, covered with a fur rug.
On the rug is the sign *'Fido." Eskimurderer is
dressed much as the Eskimo.
Properties — Fur collars, muffs, etc., to line the grave
Moth balls. Large spice or pepper box.
Mid Greenland's polar ice and snow
Where watermelons seldom grow —
It's far too cold up there, you know —
There lived a bold young Eskimo.
Beneath the selfsame iceberg's shade,
In fur of bear and seal arrayed —
Not over cleanly, I'm afraid,
There lived a charming Eskimaid.
Throughout the six-months night they'd spoon —
0, ye in love, think what a boon!
To stop at ten is far too soon
Beneath the silvery Eskimoon.
The hated rival now we see,
You spy the coming tragedy —
But I can't help it, don't blame me —
A.n Eskimucker vile was he.
He spied the fond pair there alone,
He killed them with his axibone.
ICE BREAKERS 73
You see how fierce the tale has grown —
The fond pair died with an Eskimoan.
Two graves were dug deep in the ice
And lined with fur, moth-balls, and spice.
The two were buried in a trice,
Quite safe from all the Eskimice.
Now Fido comes. Alas, too late —
I hope it^s not indelicate
These little incidents to state —
The Eskimurderer he ate.
Upon an Eskimo to sup
Was too much for an Eskipup.
He died. His Eskimemory
Is thus kept green in verse by me.
The Umha Family
1. — Mr. Umha enters dressed as an old farmer.
2. — Mrs. Umha, big and fat, enters dressed like a
3. — A girl enters on all fours, dressed as a mule,
drawing a large cardboard box with no bottom,
for a sleigh. Wears a sweater with hay sticking
4. — Children enter one by one dressed in ridiculous
costumes, and take their places in the sleigh.
5. — The mule slips and slides, and finally falls down,
the sleigh upsets, and they all fall out.
6. — Several doctors and nurses rush in and bind up
the wounds of the injured children.
74 ICE BREAKERS
7. — They then bury the mule.
8. — All jump out and shout Um ha ha.
Come and listen to me and you shall hear
A story of old, most wondrous queer
Of a family known both far and near
By the funny name of Umha-ha.
1. — Mr. Umha said one day
He thought he'd take the family sleigh
And ride upon the frozen snow,
2. — And Mistress Umha said she'd go.
They took the family, of course.
Including, too, the family horse.
3. — He was a mule, and a big one too,
You could see his ribs where the hay stuck
4. — There was Tim and Duley Umhaha.
Rose and Julie Umhaha,
Lizzie Minnie Umhaha,
Big fat Jennie Umhaha,
Fourteen people in one sleigh,
They started out to spend the day.
But luck will have it as it will ;
When they struck the top of the hill
The hill was slippery and down they flew.
How fast they went they never knew.
The time they made it can't be beat.
And the old mule had no use for its feet.
He looked like a bird or a ship in sail
And he flew with his ears and steered with his
'Twas a mile to the bottom and the bottom was
ICE BREAKERS 75
5. — And they all struck the bottom with a sickening
And Tim and Duley they were dazed,
Rose and Julie they were crazed,
Lizzie Minnie bumped her nose
Big fat Jennie she was froze.
6. — Fourteen doctors came from town
7. — And they buried the mule down under the ground
( 'Cause you never see a dead mule lying around).
It took four days to haul them home,
And when they found they'd broken no bones
They all jumped up and thanked their stars,
8. — And they all cried Umha-ha-ha-ha.
The following tale is acted in pantomime, as if in the
form of moving pictures :
''Ladies, gentlemen and others: We take great pleas-
ure in presenting to you tonight the Film
Company, Limited, very limited, in a moving burlesque
entitled, 'Wild Nell, the Pet of the Plains,' or 'Her
Final Sacrifice.' May I introduce Lady Vere de Vere,
the English heiress. Handsome Harry, the King of the
Cow Boys, Sitting Bull, the Indian Chief, Bull Durham,
his Accomplice, Hula Hula, the Medicine Woman, and
Wild Nell, the Pet of the Plains."
As the names are read the characters come in from the
right for an introductory bow and pose in character as
on a movie screen. Lady Vere de Vere, in burlesque
evening dress, flutters to the center, curtsies and exits
left. Handsome Harry, in cow-boy's costume, wooden
pistol, sombrero, with great strides and swing of arms,
faces front, tips his hat in three directions, and strides
76 ICE BREAKERS
off. Sitting Bull, in blanket-shawl, paint and head-
dress of feathers waddles in looking at the audience
with a fierce frown. Bull Durham imitates him. Hula
Hula in squaw costume, smoking a pipe, is indifferent
to every one. Wild Nell, in western costume, hands on
hips and with a "come-get-me" wink, flits across the
stage. (Wild Nell should be small and very vivacious.)
While the story is being read, the characters cross
back, acting their lines. ''Lady Vere de Vere leaves
her ancestral home for America." (Crosses stage back-
wards, throwing kisses toward wings, and bumps Hand-
some Harry, who is watching her with great interest;
registers surprise. ) Handsome Harry lifts hat, suggests
walk, offers arm and pair leave in direction Lady Vere
de Vere was going, to left. ' ' Wild Nell sees the meeting
and her soul trembles with jealousy." (Nell enters,
registers wild jealousy, shows great emotion and goes
back to wing.) ''Sitting Bull and his accomplice plan
to capture the English heiress." (Bull tiptoes stiffly
to center and beckons Durham, who imitates him ex-
actly. They plot, scanning the horizon in unison.
This is done in the following manner: they meet in
the center front, go to opposite corners, look all about
and come back to confer in center front. Next, go to
back corners of stage in same manner, conferring again
in center front.) "They hide behind a prairie-dog
hut." (They take four steps in unison to right and
squat together.) "Lady Vere de Vere strolls across
the plains." (She zigzags over the stage, very elabo-
rately breaking off flowers, reaching anywhere, occasion-
ally smelling the bunch. She even goes so far as to
pick one from Sitting Bull's head, blandly ignoring
their presence.) v^'She sits upon a cactus bush to rest."
ICE BREAKERS 77
(Assumes sitting posture besides the Indians, two steps
away from her.) "The Indians seize her." (They
creep up to either side of Lady Vere de Vere, grabbing
her with much gusto. Lady Vere de Vere registers
yelling. Indians swing her backwards and forward as
though wrestling.) ''They seat her upon their horse
and carry her away." (Lady Vere de Vere is between
Indians. The three together step back once, left side
once, take high step as though mounting, turn half
right as they do so and gallop off, Bull Durham pulling
the reins. Lady Vere de Vere screaming, Sitting Bull
slapping an imaginary horse.) ''"Wild Nell sees the
capture, and her heart is torn 'twixt love and duty."
(Enters from left, looking after departing Indians, alter-
nates pleasure and worry.) "Duty prevails and she
calls Handsome Harry. She tells the harrowing tale
and they start in pursuit." (Harry enters on horse-
back. He stops the horse and acts dismounting, listens
to Nell, motions her up behind. They mount and gallop
off. Height contrast wanted here.) "The Indians
gain." (Indians and Lady Vere de Vere gallop across
stage right to left.) "Harry and Wild Nell follow.
The redskins' horse grows tired." (Gallop across right
to left as before but slower.) "The w^hite men gain."
(Before they get to the middle of the stage, shout the
next line, which they execute exactly in the middle.)
"But their horse goes lame." (Both hop heavily on
right foot, dragging left.) "Indians go up the river in
a canoe." (Indians paddle slowly together.) Lady
Vere de Vere puts hands up to mouth and screams.
Walks in middle as though seated in the middle of a
canoe.) "The brave rescuers discover another canoe
and continue the pursuit." (Harry in front taking
78 ICE BREAKERS
long dignified strokes, Nell behind making short wild
dashes. As they approach the center.) "They strike
a snag.'' (On Harry's next down stroke on the side
of the audience, Nell goes over the side. Three short
jabs, one long one and then as calm and dignified as
before.) "The Indian Medicine Woman sits at her
camp fire waiting for her braves to bring home the
bacon." (Hula Hula comes in and squats in the center.
Acts building fire and warming hands, pipe in mouth.)
"The braves bring in their captive and the Indian
woman decrees her death." (Squaw looks Lady Vere
de Vere over and then executes thumbs down or similar
sign.) "They tie her to a stake and commence an In-
dian war dance." (Squaw starts a fire. Sitting Bull
leads dance, squaw in middle, three short circles about
Lady Vere de Vere. During the second circle Handsome
Harry and Nell arrive at the edge of the screen and
watch. In the middle of the third, Harry starts wind-
ing lasso over head. Indians keep bunched.) "The
rescuers arrive in the nick of time and with one throw
of the lasso, cowboy captures savages." (They fall to-
gether.) "One bullet does for them all." (Harry
lowers the pistol or just his finger, indicating shot by
jerk or kick. The three Indians drop together on their
knees.) "Wild Nell unites the lovers." (The lovers
embrace.) "Her duty done, the favorite of the fron-
tiersmen makes her final sacrifice." (While the lovers
embrace, Nell, in center of stage, takes knife from girdle
and in great deliberation stabs herself and falls straight
back with a thud. Harry jumps to her side, feels for
her heart beat, rises, slowly shakes his head, and re-
moves his hat.)
ICE BREAKERS 79
Suitable moving picture music adds a great deal to
the effect. Make a great deal of every point, Wild Nell,
for instance, going into an ecstasy of emotion, tearing
her hair, etc., whenever she sees the lovers together.
Girls' Athletic Games
These games require considerable space and can be
used to best advantage in a gymnasium.
The players are divided into two equal parties, facing
each other a short distance apart. One side advances
saying, ' ' Here we come ' ' ; the other side, ' ' Where from ? ' '
*'New York!" ''What's your trade?" ''Lemonade!"
"Give us some!" Whereupon the first side proceeds
to act in pantomime a trade previously decided upon.
When the guessing side shouts the answer the first side
runs back to the goal and those who are tagged join op-
posite the side which then takes its turn at pantomime.
The contestants line up at one end of the room, race
to the other, take off one shoe and throw it on the pile.
As soon as each one gets her shoe off she runs back to
the starting line and then on back to the place where the
shoes are piled. There is a wild scramble to find the
right shoe, which each contestant must put on and lace
up, then racing back to the starting line.
The group is divided into two equal lines. They are
placed at diagonal comers of a square. At a signal the
ICE BREAKERS 81
lines begin to run around the four corners of the square
and the leader of each line tries to touch the last one of
the other line. The one who does it first, wins.
The lines are arranged as in Square Ta^. At a
signal the leader of each line begins to run around the
square holding the ball. Each one should try to touch
the running opponent. Two score-keepers keep score
of every one touched. The runners when they get back
to their own line hand the ball to the first one of the
line, going to the end of the line.
Two girls make a team. One girl of each team stands
on the floor on her hands while the other girl holds her
feet up as she would the handles of a real wheelbarrow.
She guides the human wheelbarrow who walks on her
hands. Several teams line up and race to a certain
point and return.
The sides are evenly divided. A line is stretched
across the room about seven feet from the floor. The
object is to keep the ball, preferably a basketball, from
touching the floor. If one side can throw the ball in
such a manner that it is not caught but lands on the
floor, it scores one point for that side. If the ball
touches the line or does not go over, one point is given
the opposite side. This game may be closed by either
a time limit or score limit.
82 ICE BREAKERS
The opponents sit in two long rows facing each other.
The referee rolls the ball down the middle. The play-
ers try to kick the ball over the heads of their opponents
which scores one point. Hands are used as braces be-
hind and must not be used for the ball. A referee is
needed at each end to keep the ball within the lines.
Two lines face each other, separated by a chalk line.
The object is to pull individuals across the line, holding
by the hands only. This makes them members of the
x/ Snatch the Handkerchief
The group is divided into two opposite lines. Some
object such as a handkerchief is put in a small support
between leaders. At a signal, these two come cautiously
toward the object, carefully watching each other, trying
to snatch the object and get back to the line without
being caught or touched. If touched with the object in
hand, a point goes to the other side. They then go to the
end of the line, and new leaders try. Twenty-one is
usually the limit.
A circle is described in the following manner. The
first girl takes three steps and squats on all fours. The
next one hops over her, and does the same thing until
the last one has hopped over the first one, who then gets
up and begins all over again.
ICE BREAKERS 83
The sides are divided evenly. A basket ball is thrown
up by the referee. The object is to keep the ball in the
hands of your side only, the other side trying to snatch
it away. It is against rules to touch any player's body,
or to touch the ball when it is in the hands of another.
Tug of War
This may be played in three ways. The formation of
the first two is two even lines behind leaders who are
facing each other:
1. With hands around waists.
2. Clasping rope.
3. Lines facing, with clasped wrists.
/ The group is divided evenly into lines. In front of
each line is one person with her back turned to the
line. Some one in the line hits her with a soft ball
(not on head). She must turn around and try to guess
who hit her. If she guesses correctly, that girl is the
The group is divided evenly. Each side is divided
into two lines, one front, one back, all facing center.
A ball is thrown down center. The object is to kick the
ball through openings in the back Ime. The ball must
not be touched by hands. The players may follow the
ball through the back line.
84 ^ ICE BREAKERS
New York and Boston
Two captains choose alternately till all girls are
chosen. The sides line up facing each other in parallel
lines fifty feet apart. One girl from New York (or
Boston) walks across to the opposite side and walks
down the line with her hand outstretched over the out-
stretched hands of her opponents. When she slaps a
hand, that person immediately tries to catch her before
she can reach her side in safety. If the New York (or
Boston) girl is caught she returns to the side of her
opponents, otherwise she stays with her own side. In
either case, the girl who chased her becomes the slapper
and proceeds on New York's side as the first girl had
on Boston's side. The side catching all its opponents
Ten waste baskets, weighted to prevent tipping, and
eight bean bags, are the equipment required. Eight
persons play in turn, each one with a bean bag. The
baskets are set in a circle some distance apart.
Standing at a distance of about two yards from the
baskets, each player throws her bean bag into the first
basket, trying as many times as are needed to make it.
From that basket she throws it into the next in the
circle, and so on until she comes back to the first.
Scores are kept, the one who made the circuit with the
least number of tosses being the winner. When a player
misses the basket, any one standing near it is permitted
to throw her bag back to her for another trial.
ICE BREAKERS 85
The players form a circle with the exception of three
who stand in the center. Those in the circle and the
players in the center number off by threes. The players
in the center take turns in calling:, each one her number,
"One," or "Two," or "Three," whereupon all of the
other players in the circle who hold that number, quickly
change places with one another, the one who called the
number trying to catch one as she runs to a new place.
Any player so caught, changes places with the caller.
For instance, the center player may call "Three," where-
upon all Number Threes in the circle must change places.
They may do this by changing with a near neighbor, or
tantalize the one who called by running across the
circle. The center players take turns in calling but
may reverse the order to surprise the circle players.
In all relays there shall be an e(iual number in the
competing teams, the teams arranged in two, three or
four lines, facing the goal. The start shall be given by
1. "On your mark!" (one foot on the starting line).
2. "Get ready!"
After the first girl of each line has started no girl is
to run until touched off.
Touching off shall be done bv the hands. A irirl when
awaiting the touch off, shall toe the starting line with
one foot and reach one hand directlv forward as far as
possible to meet that of the approachinc? toucher off.
Each girl after having run and touched off the next one,
will have finished her part of the race, and shall quickly
86 ICE BREAKERS
leave the nmning space and remain out of the way of
the remaining runners. She shall not line up again
with the runners.
This principle of relay racing can be used in any
number of different races.
1. Running to a given point and back.
4. Jumping, both feet together.
5. Over obstacles.
6. Double (with a partner).
7. On all fours.
9. Indian Club:
a. Have three Indian clubs on goal mark, for each line.
First one runs up and knocks down clubs; second one
puts them up; third knocks down, etc.
b. One circle at goal mark for each line, with three
Indian clubs in each. First one puts clubs outside the
circle; second one puts them inside; third outside, etc.
c. Have one club on goal mark for each line and give
one club to each leader. First one exchanges her club
with one at mark and brings it back to next girl who
does the same.
In all these Indian Club Relays, if a club falls down,
the runner must go back and pick it up.
Indoor Track Meet
Have the colors of four colleges made of cheese cloth
or ribbon and pin one to each girl as she enters. When
ready for the events the representatives of each college
ICE BREAKERS 87
take their places under their banners in a corner of the
room or gymnasium. If it is to be a big event, the
songs and yells may have been learned in advance. A
manager with a megaphone calls out the events and an
equal number of representatives from each college come
to the center of the floor and compete. Each college
cheers. The events may be varied according to the oc-
casion. There may be some real jumping, running, etc.,
interspersed with mock events, or they may be all of
either kind. Points for first and second place may be
There may be refreshments in keeping, such as:
Parallel bars. Straws.
Traveling rings. Doughnuts.
Base balls. Round white candy.
The nature of the refreshments may be kept secret and
each may be allowed to choose two or three things from
a menu posted in front of the serving window. These
things may be served on small paper plates. Later an-
other surprise of something more substantial may be
given to all.
The medals, cups, etc., may be given out during the
time for refreshments. Round tins may be used for
medals, with a safety pin fastened through a hole in
the center. These may be given to individual winners.
A loving cup may be made from two funnels, one a
little smaller than the other. A tinner can take off the
ends and solder them together, adding handles if de-
sired. This may be given to the winning college, with
an inscription written on it.
88 ICE BREAKERS
Following is a suggested program :
(Unless otherwise stated, it is well to have just one
contestant from each group to enter each event.)
Set a mason jar on the floor. Each girl has six beans.
Hold at arm's length and drop into jar.
Drawing lines on, a blackboard a yard long, by guess.
Pies are eaten without the aid of hands.
Racing with legs in a bag.
A race to eat bars of candy.
Common paper sacks are blown up and contestants
throw for distances.
Vocal High Jump
Contestants say one word high and one word low with
their faces straight.
Push pennies along yard sticks with tooth picks.
ICE BREAKERS 89
Sing ''America/' singing two words, omitting two
words, etc. A mistake puts one out.
Hobble Skirt Race
Very tight skirts are worn by girls who race to a given
Four lines of obstacles are laid out for a race for
speed. This may be a relay race.
Johnny Jump Up
Each group gets into line. The first one of each group
jumps as far as possible, marking at heel. The next one
starts at chalk line and continues. Side reaching
farthest point wins.
Each group gets into line. Every one in four dif-
ferent lines stretches arms out shoulder high, touch-
ing finger tips. Longest line wins.
Throw a handkerchief as far as possible with no
weight or knot.
Two girls are chosen from each group. Four of them,
of different groups, are to try to keep solemn, in spite of
everything the other four do.
Each girl is given a lighted candle. The one who in
the shortest time reaches a distant goal with her candle
Four girls are asked to whistle one note. The one
who holds her note the longest without taking breath
gets a whistle for a prize.
There are several more events grouped under dif-
ferent headings which serve splendidly for Track Meet
events. They are:
1. Shoe Scramble.
2. Wheelbarrow Race.
3. Simon Says.
4. Opera Glass Race.
5. Tug of War for Prunes.
6. Suitcase Race.
7. Apple-Eating Race.
8. Standing High Jump.
9. Milk Bottle Race.
10. Scent Push.
11. Running High Squeal.
12. Bawl Game.
Aeroplane Ride 13
Aesthetic Dancing 29
Alphabetical Romance .... 63
Animal Alphabet 33
Aviation Meet 14
Apple Eating Race 12
Baby Party 23
Backward Party 22
Ball Tag 81
Barn Dance 45
Bawl Game 13
Bibliography for Musical
Birthday Party 21
Blind Obstacle Race 12
Bone of Contention 15
Bride and Groom 53
Cat Fight 67
Champion High Singers ... 66
Chariot Race 11
Circle Games 19
Circus Horse 45
Cock Fight 82
Cracker Relay Race t 13
Coquette, The 62
Crazyola Victrola 55
Doctor Magician 54
Doll Shop 67
Dummy, The 83
Dwarf Exhibit 63
Egg Smash 25
Eskimo Tragedy 71
Everlasting Talk 30
Faith, Hope and Charity . . 10
Family Party 20
Feather Blow 24
Flyers, The 33
Folding Chair Relay Race.. 17
Ford Stunt 56
Gentlemen Nursemaids .... 11
Girls' Football 82
Goat, The 28
Goop Stunt 51
Grand March Figures 34
Grouping People for Stunts 50
Have You 'Eared About
Hawaiian Musicians 66
Hiram and Mirandy 19
How We Got the American
Hungry Blind, The 14
I See a Ghost 25
Indoor Golf 84
Indoor Track Meet 86
Inverted Quartet 67
Italian Grand Opera 53
Kick Ball 83
Leap Frog 82
Line Ball 81
Living Alphabet 16
Lobster Race for Men 10
Lord Ullen's Daughter 69
Lost Thimble 25
Magic Music 16
Mental Telepathy 24
Milk Bottle Race 12
Misspelled Spelling 68
Mock Political Convention . . 59
Mock Trial 58
Musical Neighbors 30
Mysterious Bags, The 14
Mystic Book, The 25
New York go
New York and Boston 84
Newspaper Race 15
Noriu Miego 48
Nosy Nose, A 32
Opera Glass Race 10
Paper Artist, The 32
Partners, To Find 8
Peanut Hunt 17
Peanut Pass 31
Pigtail Quartet 67
Pipe Organ 59
Pop Goes the Weasel 42
Poverty Party 23
Progressive Party 22
Progressive Peanut . 2I
Progressive Poetry 28
Puzzle Words 17
Reading Temples 24
Receiving Line 7
Relay Races 23, 85-90
Ridiculous Handkerchief ... 29
Romeo and Juliet 57
Running High Squeal 12
Scent Push 12
Shoe Scramble 80
Silence Party 23
Simon Says 16
Singing Proverbs 15
Snakes and Birds 16
Snatch the Handkerchief ... 82
Spontaneous Dramatics ... 17
Square Tag 80
Standing High Jump 12
Suitcase Race 11
Take- Away 83
Tell-Tale Proverbs 32
Three Land Lubbers in
Tight Rope Walker 66
Triple Change 85
Tug of War 83
Tug of War for Prunes. ... 10
Umha Family 73
Upsetting Exercises 50
Ventriloquist, The 54
Virginia Reel 37
Water Drinking Relay 13
We Won't Go Home Till
Weavers, The 20
Well, I Will 60
Wheel Barrow Race 81
White Elephant Party ... 22
Wild Nell 75
Winners, To Choose 23
1 17n DDlflM 32Efl
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